HBO answers your 'Game of Thrones' renewal burning questions

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HBO brass got on the phone with EW to talk about their decision to renew Game of Thrones after one episode. Below, HBO co-president Richard Plepler and programming president Michael Lombardo answer some of your burning questions from our comment boards:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What made you decide to renew Thrones?
MICHAEL LOMBARDO: It’s a great show that only gets better with every episode, and when it ends you’re left wanting more. On a creative level, it was screaming for another season. We absolutely had an expectation that this would be a slow [ratings] build. It’s challenging for people who’ve decided it’s not a genre for them. The word of mouth has been great and we don’t even have OnDemand numbers yet. We thought it was a great starting place.
RICHARD PLEPLER: It’s a quintessential HBO show — it has a passionate connection with a big part of our audience. Whether the final number is 7 or 8 million viewers, it doesn’t take anything away from the addictive quality of the show for a large chunk of our audience.

How many episodes is the second season?
ML: It’s such a challenging show to produce. They don’t have a writing staff — it’s just the two of them [exec producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss]. The idea is to do ten of them again, and that’s what they want to do, to maintain the quality of their work.

When will season two premiere?
ML: We don’t want people to wait more than a year. This is a production challenge. You have to start every season anew [adding more locations].
RP: Same time, next year.

When will production start?
ML: The producers are scouting locations for second season now. That’s all to be discussed.

When is the first season DVD being released?
RP: Generally, it becomes available immediately before, or immediately after, the second season starts — but we haven’t had those conversations yet. And with the advent of HBO Go, people will be able to watch this when they want, how they want.

If Thrones ratings stay right where they are now, are you happy?
RP: Yes, absolutely. With the VOD and multiplex, we’re going to get substantially over 6 million [viewers]. True Blood‘s numbers were nowhere near that [the first season]. It’s a strong show for us. The best thing we have going for us is word of mouth, that’s the biggest driver you can get. The Twitter action this morning is tremendous. This is only going to build.

Read more:
HBO renews ‘Game of Thrones’ for second season!
‘Game of Thrones’ premiere ratings are in
Game of Thrones premiere recap: Who’s family is the best? Put your sibling to the test!

Comments (72 total) Add your comment
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  • Jack

    This is a truly great series.

    • SciyuFiyu

      It really is.

    • Sarah HG

      And you’ve seen, what, one episode?

      • Trey

        This.

      • Mike

        Unless the writers began writing under the influence of meth after episode one, it’s a pretty safe bet to say the series will at least be good.

      • Jaime

        This is the way of it now? Have you seen all the picture shows? Shut up lowborn wench.

    • Tony

      excellent series never like the knights in shining armor thing, but this series is good. keeps u on the edge of your seat, and after an episodes over u want to watch somemore. Top ratings from me!!!!!

    • Rehan

      FYI … for the first comment only post it looks like a work-around is to post the code after the “” tag. I have it shwiong up now for all but deleted comments. I don’t know why it wasn’t working on the “” … maybe that isn’t included in all posts or comments.Something else to try would be to put it after the “” and see if it shows up … I don’t feel like messing with it since it appear to be working now.

  • SciyuFiyu

    I was hoping Season 2 would get 12 episodes.

    • sarah

      me too! the book gets longer… hope they don’t have to cut a lot.

    • TC

      Well 10 episodes does not rule out the possibility of a 2 hour premiere or season finale. It seems LOST did that several times.

  • Adam Whitehead

    A second season order is excellent, but only 10 episodes is concerning. You could just about squeeze the second novel, A CLASH OF KINGS, into 10 episodes (though there’s going to be cuts, more severe than on Season 1), but they’re storing up trouble for when they get to the third book, which they’ll now definitely have to do over two seasons, which has big logistical and plausibility problems with the kids aging.

    A more logical (though much more expensive) idea would have been to have had 12 or 13 episodes for Season 2: 10 or 11 for the actual events of the book, but then an additional 1-2 to bring forward the events at the start of Book 3 into the end of Season 2 (the two books overlap heavily anyway). Then you could squeeze the rest of Book 3 (just) into 12-13 episodes for Season 3.

    Great news, but creatively this is going to be a huge challenge to pull off.

    • SciyuFiyu

      I am still hoping that they will film 12 episode in the second season. I would love if they would split the third season into two parts of eight episodes. First part would definitely cover “Steel and Snow” and the second part would cover “Blood and Gold”. 16 episodes overall for the entire Storm of Swords is more than I dare to hope. It would be flawless.

    • JL

      I have a feeling that the problems with the kids aging in the books was taken care of with a preemptive strike from the series by aging them each about 3 years for the show. But, absolutely, the third book is going to be difficult to condense into 10 episodes.

  • 4raser

    I doubt there’s a place to directly reach the top brass at HBO, but if they’re out there, reading this article, I just want them to know they are wonderful and intelligent and sexy and brilliant people and I love them very much for getting behind this amazing series and having so much faith in it. Gents, thank you.

  • urstruly

    The premiere was absolutely abysmal. The stereotypes were shockingly offensive and the casting was terrible (with the exception of Bean). Hopefully this show will be canceled after next season. Seriously, it was exceptionally bad in every aspect except for intro.

    • SciyuFiyu

      Hopefully, the series will be on air for many years to come. You are always welcome to give it another chance, because it only gets better.
      The books are fantastic.
      If not, there are always plenty of tv shows to watch on Sunday nights. No need to lose your nerves over something you find (I hope only you) “absolutely abysmal”.

    • somebody

      I hope your favorite shows are cancelled, too….?

      Why you gotta be a hater, dawg?

    • Typical Internet Guy

      TROLL!!!

    • CK

      Don’t feed the troll.

    • Lee

      I’m with urstruly. I didn’t care for the first episode of GoT either. Too many characters made it too confusing and to me, it just seemed a retread of ROME or any of those other HBO shows about ambition, greed and lust. I don’t understand the hype. Very overrated.

      • megadeth12

        it is intended to be like that. Stick around dude, it will get better. This is the kind of show that grows on you.

      • Davieboy

        Yeah Lee, too many characters; Mozart complicated his symphonies with way too many notes as well.

      • Trollh8ter

        Too many characters…..my low IQ levels wont allow me to track more than 3 main characters. ACK

        lol really dude? stick to the simpsons and sat morning cartoons. leave the “complex” show to the adults. your mom lets you stay up that late and watch potty mouth tv

    • Trollh8ter

      why even come on here to hate? speaks volumes about your character, or lack thereof. guess you didnt get enough attention from mommy and daddy so you seek it out on message boards by being a troll

    • Chris

      Steriotypes? The series tosses them on their head. Wait for it, these characters are dynamic, not static, they change. Yes, they change. If the series stays on long enough you may find yourself even rooting for the guy who tossed a kid out a window.

    • Jaime

      I believe the root of it is that you should be ridden like a fat sow that you are and your peasant stock low bred opinions be cast aside.

  • somebody

    I was thinking about the kids aging and I’ve decided it’s not so much of a problem. They grow up fast, they have to take on adult roles very quickly, it’s okay if Arya hits a growth spurt or Bran starts looking a bit teenagery.

    The only concern I’ve had as far as the kids’ ages goes is that Sophie Turner really looks her own age. If they put off the “Sansa freaking out about her period because now she has to marry Joffrey” scene until the third season, she’ll be 17. Which stretches the imagination a bit. The alternative being that they could cut it or rework the plotline, and we can assume that she hit menarche without having to get a lesson on how “a girl becomes a woman.”

    • Michelle

      That scene is in book 2, not 3.

  • franz

    absolutely abysmal? i don’t think i read that right… i COULDN’T have!

    • jodipo

      sadly you did frans. Its the same troll that has been to every GoT article and said the same thing. He is a waste of space. The show was wonderful, and will only get better!

      • Monte

        Thanks! For these easy steps. I did it and I see the reply buttons under each comnmet. I have one problem and don’t know if there is a solution. When I reply to a comnmet it takes me to another screen with all the comnmets on it. And if I want to continue replying i have to go back to original screen and so on. Is there any way to reply underneath each comnmet in one page like in disqus. Like if you are chatting???Thanks

  • Lee

    Slow (ratings) build. Just like LOST. Also–it’s just as confusing as LOST with its many characters–especially for viewers who haven’t read the books. I doubt the ratings will go up. It’s not the type of show that you can jump in mid-stream and understand what’s going on. That’s probably one of the reasons why LOST’s ratings never went up either.

    • Karazax

      You can say that about basically every HBO series. You can’t jump in mid series to Sopranos, the Wire, or Boardwalk Empires and hope to be up on what is going on either. Besides HBO has all their shows on demand so if you wish to jump in mid season, you can marathon watch from the start. Other fans first pick up on HBO series when they hit DVD, and then become fans. DVD sales should be very strong for the series and it is already the best selling international HBO series ever.

      • Chris

        I agree, that is how I got into Trueblood.

        It was summer, nothing was on TV, and we thought “Lets start watching this weird vampire show on HBO ON Demand, see if it is any good.” It was good, and now we’re fans.

      • Warren G Wonka

        I see that HBO regrets cutting Rome and Deadwood short now that they’ve seen the DVR sales.

  • Chris

    “The idea is to do ten of them again, and that’s what they want to do, to maintain the quality of their work.”

    I don’t see how this follows. So the quality of their work depends on them doing 10 episodes instead of 12? I don’t buy it. If anything, the fact that they only had 10 episodes this season has hampered the show’s quality, forcing it to move quickly from one scene to the next in order to cram in as much as they can. If they do the same for A Clash of Kings (which is 100 pages longer) then this will get even worse.

    • Martin

      Maybe they meant “instead of less”?

  • MultiPass

    It’s not confusing. I never read the books and it’s pretty easy to follow so far. As long as they keep it up with the sex and creepiness, it’ll do well.

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  • Karazax

    Loved the premiere and excited that a 2nd season was added. Most HBO shows take a few episodes to really get into for new viewers, but this one has done a good job so far.

  • RitariKnight

    Re:DVD’s. The reply from Plepler hints that he didn’t consider the international DVD sales at all, since not very many countries outside the US has access to HBO Go. The international demand for the DVD/BR will be huge, a lot bigger than the domestic one. ASoIaF has sold more books abroad than in the US, and the fan base is global. There is even support for this simply from the fact that the international TV rights sales has been the best HBO ever has had for a TV show. The GoT premiere is the most illegally downloaded TV episode of all time, that speaks volumes about the international demand for it. We need to get the DVD/BR out this year. I’ll buy them both, as will countless others.

  • joomla website development

    It is really nice to hear all your answers from HBO. I think this is not confusing. Thanks for sharing this conversation with us.

  • Kent

    I hope the show’s dialogue becomes more memorable. I’m paraphrasing here, but I recall the dialogue being along the lines of, “Hi brother, how are you? It’s me, your sister” and “You are Lord so-and-so, you have a reputation of behaving like this and like that, and you are the brother of the Queen,” etc., etc.

    • Maui

      Which is very much in line with how they talk in the books…

      Cersie and Jaime almost always call each other (My) Dear Brother or (My) Dear Sister..

  • Bob Affet

    There is no doubt that this will be one of the best shows on television, HBO has a winner here!I caught it on channel 300 with DISH Network in HD, such a beautiful picture. Working for DISH I know that you can call in and get HD Free For Life so you can take advantage of it as well.

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